Why are certain trees and ecosystems in Whistler worth saving, while others are not?
I found council's comments regarding tree removal on Lorimer Road and the heli-pad irrational and ironic. During last week's council meeting Mayor Melamed said, "We spend a lot of time here trying to preserve our tree buffers, the natural setting." Councillor Ralph Forysth chimed in with, "...my only request would be whatever we can do to preserve as much of that tree stock as possible. It just seems such a tragedy for those trees to have to come down."
This is the same gang that cleared 800+ trees from Lot 1/9, located adjacent to the helipad and kitty-corner to the stand of trees to house the Celebration Plaza, complete with new "native" shrubs, ferns and the Great Lawn. Guess what's good enough for VANOC isn't good enough for Vancouver Coastal Health and Transport Canada.
These are the same elected officials who stood by as the rare, red-listed Nesters Wetland was destroyed to house the Fort McMurray-looking hydrogen refueling station and gave their approval to remove thousands of mature trees to expand Highway 99 and construct the Nordic ski trails and winding roads into the Callaghan Valley.
Our current council and their First Nations partners believe that cutting Whistler's old growth trees is beneficial for Whistler's long term economic and tourism future. At the Sept. 9 Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) Open House, the mayor told me how "... it's a really good idea to cut down old growth forest because it helps rejuvenate the forest." Did I miss something here?
Richmond Plywood's chainsaws were busy at work this weekend in the Brew Creek area, as they "selectively" cut their quota of harvestable trees.
Removing trees in the village core to clear flight paths for our emergency services and helicopters is fine with me. The only reason I can think of for preserving the trees at Lorimer and Blackcomb Way is to keep the RMOW's free parking lot hidden to tourists.
AWARE on CCF
The Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE) believes the Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) and the equal partnership created between Whistler RMOW and the Lil'wat and Squamish First Nations, recognizes historical land rights and, potentially, affords all partners greater control over the future sustainability of our shared forests. AWARE recognizes the CCF board has made steps to maintain ecosystem diversity through working with Ecotrust Canada. However, we believe the CCF is faced with several challenges, summarized in the bullets below, which it now has the opportunity to overcome: